BOOK REVIEW: Miss Muriel Matters
A captivating new biography of the Australian actress who became one of London's most famous suffragists.
In 1909 a young Australian actress made headlines around the world when she took to the sky over the British Houses of Parliament in an airship emblazoned with the slogan Votes for Women.
When prevailing winds forced her to sail around London instead, she dropped leaflets all over the city.
The American media declared it to be the world's first aerial protest.
A year earlier, Muriel Matters, who became known as 'that daring Australian girl', became the first woman to make a speech in Parliament after chaining herself to a brass grille to protest against women being segregated in the Parliament.
She was sent to Holloway Prison for her crime, and on her release added prison reform to her list of campaigns.
Muriel Matters went on to become one of the most famous suffragists of her day, touring England in a horse-drawn caravan to promote her cause.
Her skill as an orator drew crowds in their thousands.
So why has Muriel Matters remained a relative unknown in both Britain and her home country?
In Miss Muriel Matters, best-selling writer Robert Wainwright discovers an extraordinary woman full of intelligence, passion and bravery who fought for women's rights in a world far from equal.
About the author
Robert Wainwright is a well-known journalist and the author of several topical books.
He has written books about Rose Porteous, Caroline Byrne, Martin Bryant, George Ingle Finch, and Ian Thorpe.
The author of the best-selling Sheila: the Australian beauty who bewitched British society, he lives in London with his wife, Paola Totaro and their family.
Miss Muriel Matters is available from ABC Books from March 27, 2017. The paperback RRP is $32.99.